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Students Organize Human Rights Review Publication

By Brian P. Yu, Contributing Writer

In light of human rights issues across the globe they feel the mainstream media has ignored, a group of Harvard students is spearheading a new campus publication to fill the gap.

The Harvard College Human Rights Review, founded last year by Daniel Barcia ’15, will release its first publication next semester with the hope of bringing attention to human rights abuses organizers describe as undercovered.

“The idea is to focus on issues that aren’t being picked up by The New York Times or CNN, or even major human rights groups like Amnesty or Human Rights Watch,” co-editor-in-chief Kate S. Hoffman ’17 said.

Although the first publication is not expected to be released until April or May, some articles written last year by interested members were published last week on the organization’s website. The articles address topics such as violence in Colombia, HIV in China, and child labor in India.

Co-editor-in-chief Kamran M. Jamil ’18 wrote an article on human rights concerns in Patagonia.

“I’m very interested in the environment and multinational corporations and their impact on health and human rights,” Jamil said. “Not a lot of people know about what's going on in Patagonia.”

To find stories, writers collaborate with graduate students at the Kennedy School of Government who are doing their own research on topics that they feel have not been covered sufficiently in academic writing.

“We want to do something that has an impact,” Hoffman said. “Our mission is to create a dialogue on campus, and I think that has a lot of weight to it if we do it correctly.”

The publication is currently reaching out to potential writers.

“It’s been getting a lot of positive attention,” Jamil said. “Students are really excited. There’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm being generated, especially amongst freshmen who want to get involved with human rights. This isn’t a club most of them had in high school.”

After the application period ends on Nov. 1, Hoffman and Jamil plan to assemble a team of up to 15 writers to publish academic pieces on global human rights issues.

“We’re trying to be really thoughtful about how to create the biggest impact with the resources that we have.” Hoffman said, “For now, we’re trying to set up a good foundation.”

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